Federconsorzi 2, CAI SpA, AgriRevi, Coldiretti. The dinner of jerks

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The saga of Federconsorzi 2, a.k.a. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI) SpA, is enriched thanks to AgriRevi SpA and Coldiretti with a cinematic appeal. ‘The Dinner of Cretins’(Le dîner de cons) by Francis Veber, 1998.

It is a bourgeois parody of a group of friends, rich and bored, who hold a so-called ‘jerk dinner’ every week. From time to time, participants invite a character to mock. However, it only takes an unforeseen event to bring out the betrayals and misdeeds of the entire clique. And events precipitate.

Preamble

On 23.1.21 GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade) publishes the article ‘Consorzi Agrari d’Italia, Bonifiche Ferraresi and Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, the pot is full‘. (1) An update on the misdeeds of AgriRevi SpA, a startup of the audit, formed on 3.12.19 by a circle of Coldiretti executives together with a senior magistrate (Fabrizio Di Marzio, a former adviser to the Court of Cassation) and the director of AGEA (General Agency for Agricultural Disbursements) Gabriele Papa Pagliardini. (2)

Conflicts of interest and multiple violations of the rules protecting the independence and objectivity of auditors (Legislative Decree 39/2010, Articles 10, 10-bis, 10-ter) had led the then president of AgriRevi SpA to belatedly withdraw from the appointment he received at Consorzi Agrari d’Italia Real Estate Srl. Combination, in the week following the above GIFT article, Monica Rispoli-the president of AgriRevi S.p.A., who had taken over two weeks earlier from the incompatible Raffaele Grandolini-also resigned in turn.

The protagonists

The protagonists of this reality show, which is just one episode in the saga of Federconsorzi 2 – Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI) SpA, (3) are five. The first is AGEA director as well as AgriRevi SpA shareholder Gabriele Papa Pagliardini, who has already been the subject of attention for possible conflicts of interest, corruption and abuse of office by 14 senators of the Italian Republic and four members of the European Parliament (2,4).

The other protagonists , however, belong to Coldiretti’s magic circle. Waiting to untangle at least part of the hitherto covert relations of the Palazzo Rospigliosi dome with the halls of power, Raffaele Grandolini, Monica Rispoli, Antonio Cepparulo and Fabio Marella take the stage today. Their resumes deserve special attention in light of Article 2399 of the Civil Code(Causes of Ineligibility and Disqualification).

They may not be elected to the office of mayor and, if elected, shall forfeit their office: (…)
(c) those who are linked to the company or its subsidiaries or companies controlling it or those subject to common control by an employment relationship or by an ongoing consultancy or paid work relationship, or by other relationships of a financial nature that compromise their independence’. (Civil Code, Article 2399). (5)

Raphael Grandolini

Raffaele Grandolini is head of Administration, Finance and General Affairs of the National Confederation of Coldiretti, as well as its attorney general of the same association. As if that were not enough, he holds the following positions:

– managing director of the Centro Assistenza Fiscale (CAF) Coldiretti Srl, a company affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Finance,

– managing director of Centro Assistenza Agricola (CAA) Coldiretti Srl, a company that has an agreement with AGEA (Agenzia Generale per le Erogazioni in Agricoltura),

– managing director of Germina Campus SpA, a real estate company of the National Confederation of Coldiretti, a 44 percent shareholder in Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA. (6)

Federconsortia, historical courses and recourses

The property in Rome, Via XXIV Maggio 43, was taken over by Germina Campus SpA from the Federconsorzi bankruptcy. The prestigious Palazzo Rospigliosi is now home, ironically, to CAI (Consorzi Agrari d’Italia) SpA, aka Federconsorzi 2. As well as CAF Coldiretti Srl, CAE Coldiretti Srl, Germina Campus SpA. But also of the companies Agritel Srl and Bluarancio SpA, the Consorzio Produttori di Campagna Amica and the Consorzio Sistema Servizi.

Federconsorzi’s historic headquarters then hosts Filiera Agricola Italiana (FAI) SpA, Cattolica General Agency Agrifides Srl, and innovative startup Tokenfarm Srl. As well as the Mutual Fund for the Promotion and Development of Cooperation SpA and the Italian Rice Industry SpA. And the ubiquitous plenipotentiary Raffaele Grandolini is from time to time CEO, president or mayor of each. Other assignments to follow

Raphael Grandolini, technology services

King Midas and Mandrake are amateurs in the presence of Raffaele Grandolini, whose roles extend to:

– chairman of the board of directors of Agritel Srl, the telephone company of the National Confederation of Coldiretti that buys telephone utilities from Telecom to resell (at increased prices) to Coldiretti members and employees,

– managing director of Enteus Srl, an IT company of the National Coldiretti Confederation, which buys software and hardware on the market to resell to another IT company of the same National Coldiretti Confederation, Bluarancio SpA,

– CEO of Bluarancio SpA, the second largest IT company of the National Confederation of Coldiretti. Bluarancio buys software and hardware from Enteus Srl (of Coldiretti) to resell to the Sistema Servizi Consortium (of Coldiretti itself),

– sole director of Tokenfarm Srl, an innovative startup owned by Bluarancio,

– CEO of the Consortium System Services (CSS), a company that–according to backyard rumors–reimburses the provincial and regional Coldiretti federations some 30 million euros in annual costs to cover the glitz of Palazzo Rospigliosi.

Raffaele Grandolini, Campagna Amica and Filiera Agricola Italia

Raffaele Grandolini’s longa manu also touches on the sale and resale of agricultural commodities. He is in fact:

– president of the Board of Directors of the Campagna Amica Producers’ Consortium, which buys agricultural products from farmers to resell them to a company it owns (12 percent), Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA,

– CEO of Filiera Agricola Italiana (FAI) SpA, the second largest agricultural products company, which buys from its shareholder Consorzio Produttori di Campagna Amica commodities then destined for Campagna Amica markets, consumers. (6)

Raphael Grandolini. Insurance and credit, conflicts of interest

Raffaele Grandolini’s tentacles also control insurance and credit, thanks to the appointments of:

– sole director of the Agenzia Generale Cattolica Agrifides Srl, whose chairman Paolo Bedoni–former president of Coldiretti–is under investigation by the Verona Public Prosecutor’s Office for unlawful influence on the assembly in fomenting the risky investment on H-Farm, (7)

– president of Simec SpA, a credit consulting and brokerage company of the National Confederation of Coldiretti.

Conflicts of interest have forced Raffaele Grandolini to step down as chairman of the AgriRevi S.P.A. board of directors. A year late but in extreme haste, after the Pandora’s box was opened on Federconsorzi 2. (3) Coldiretti’s CFO goes further, however. In addition to administering most of its subsidiaries, he is an auditor in other companies controlled by it. With good grace to the Civil Code (Art. 2399) and Legislative Decree. 39/10, is among other things:

– chairman of board of auditors of the Mutual Fund for the Promotion and Development of Cooperation SpA, the safe of the Central Cooperative UeCoop,

– mayor of Filiera Italiana Riso SpA.

Monica Rispoli

A follower of Grandolini for a few days as president of AgriRevi SpA, Monica Rispoli is an employee of the Sistema Servizi Consortium where he himself is CEO. And it follows in its footsteps with a series of conflicts of interest that the law sanctions and CONSOB ignores. Ella is in fact:

– chairman of the board of auditors of the Consorzio Produttori di Campagna Amica S.C.p.A., whose CEO is his own employer Raffaele Grandolini,

– mayor of Filiera Agricola Italiana S.p.A., whose CEO is once again Mr. Grandolini,

– mayor of Filiera Italiana Riso SpA, this time in the company of his employer. (8)

Antonio Cepparulo

Antonio Cepparulo is another champion of conflicts of interest, in open violation of the Civil Code as well as the Code of Conduct for the Board of Auditors adopted by the National Council of Certified Public Accountants (CNDEC). (9) Cepparulo is in fact:

– mayor of the National Confederation of Coldiretti, where Raffaele Grandolini is in charge of Administration, Finance and General Affairs, as well as Attorney General,

– mayor of CAF Coldiretti Srl, of which Grandolini is managing director,

– chairman of the board of auditors of CAA Coldiretti Srl, where Raffaele Grandolini is also CEO,

– chairman of the board of auditors of AgriRevi SpA, where Raffaele Grandolini was chairman, before his recent resignation,

– chairman of the board of statutory auditors of Agri Centro Nord and Agri Centro Sud, formerly CreditAgri S.c.p.a. Farmers’ Bank, where Coldiretti secretary general Vincenzo Gesmundo was chairman before giving way to liquidator Enrico Leccisi (another partner in AgriRevi SpA, ed.). And Raffaele Grandolini, ça va sans dir, was administrator,

-Chairman of the Board of Statutory Auditors of UNAPROL S.C.p.A., the National Consortium of Olive Growers, based at the Conf. National Coldiretti, funded by AGEA,

– auditor of Elaion Srl, the company of UNAPROL S.C.p.A., same location.

Fabio Marella

Fabio Marella is the new right-hand man of Raffaele Grandolini, whose footsteps he in turn follows:

– mayor of Bluarancio SpA, where Grandolini is chief executive officer,

– mayor of the Sistema Servizi Consortium, of which Grandolini is CEO,

– mayor of Simec SpA, Raffele Grandolini president,

– mayor of the Campagna Amica Producers Consortium, Raffaele Grandolini president,

– mayor of Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, Grandolini AD,

– auditor of the Mutual Fund for the Promotion and Development of Cooperation, Raffaele Grandolini chairman of the Board of Statutory Auditors,

– auditor of Agri Centro Nord and Agri Centro Sud, formerly CreditAgri S.c.p.a, where Antonio Cepparulo is chairman of the board of auditors,

– icing on the cake, equity partner of AgriRevi SpA.

The dinner of jerks

Italy ranks 52nd out of 180 in the global 2020 ranking for Perceived Corruption Index, according to Transparency International. (10) Above the Bel Paese, among others, Oman and Rwanda, Dominican Republic, Botswana, Chile. But actual corruption levels may exceed perceived ones.

The jerks’ dinner is pantagruelian, and it is just one episode of the reality-show that pollutes politics and public administration, the market and competition. The mala gestio of public resources and of Italian farmers results in personal benefits for the magic circle of Coldiretti and its acolytes among giga-employees, emoluments and corporate holdings.

A must-see film. Front-row seats are reserved for the judiciary, the Guardia di Finanza, and supervisors. Instead, the balconies are reserved for Antitrust and CONSOB, which appear not to have seen even a trailer. We also await reviews from the big newspapers before it all closes.

Dario Dongo

Cover image: graphic elaboration on frame from the film ‘The Dinner of Cretins’ (Le dîner de cons)

Notes

(1) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia, Bonifiche Ferraresi and Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, the vase is full. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/consorzi-agrari-d-italia-bonifiche-ferraresi-e-filiera-agricola-italiana-spa-il-vaso-è-colmo
(2) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, Federconsorzi 2 and the director of AGEA. Senate Question. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 8.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/coldiretti-federconsorzi-2-e-il-direttore-di-agea-interrogazione-al-senato

(3) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA, Federconsorzi 2? The Poison Dossier. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/consorzi-agrari-d-italia-spa-federconsorzi-2-il-dossier-dei-veleni

(4) Dario Dongo. Conflict of interest AGEA – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, questions to the European Parliament. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 30.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/conflitto-dinteressi-agea-pagliardini-coldiretti-interrogazioni-al-parlamento-europeo

(5) NB: The disqualification of auditors provided for in Civil Code Article 2399 operates ex officio. Directors must register their termination in the commercial register within 30 days of the occurrence of the grounds for disqualification
(6) See article cited in footnote 1, last paragraph
(7) Emanuela Rossi. H-Farm case for Cattolica Assicurazioni, all the details. Start magazine. 18.1.21, https://www.startmag.it/economia/caso-h-farm-per-cattolica/

(8) Monica Rispoli also has other positions, in the Coldiretti galaxy:

– statutory auditor of APOL S.c. a r.l,

– mayor of the National Tobacco Growers Organization Italy S.c. a r.l,

– sole auditor of the Sardinia Olive Producers Association Agricultural Cooperative Society

(9) CNDEC. Rules of conduct of the board of auditors of unlisted companies. Standard 1.4 (Independence). Testo aggiornato al 12.1.21 su https://commercialisti.it/documents/20182/1236776/Norme+C.S.+non+quotate+agg.+L+Bilancio+%282021.01%29.pdf/9751061e-d226-40a3-841a-55ac40bcc577

(10) Transparency International (2021). Corruption Perceptions Index 2020. #cpi2020. ISBN: 978-3-96076-157-0. https://images.transparencycdn.org/images/2020_Report_CPI_EN.pdf